Maisie Williams spoke to Making Game of Thrones about Arya’s journey in Season 4, her relationship with the Hound and meeting Brienne of Tarth.
On Arya and the Hound: “They’re not necessarily friends but I think she does look up to him. Not quite in the way she looked up to Yoren; they’ll never be that close. The Hound has so many walls up and so does she, but they are looking out for each other. They both have qualities that the other needs to survive. I feel like Arya was a popular character because of the decisions she made, and this year, the audience really started to see a nicer side to the Hound too.”
On the Hound being a father figure: “Arya’s angry that she didn’t know more about this world until it was too late and is now desperately trying to be one step ahead of the game. The Hound’s been very helpful for that. I think Arya and Sansa go through the same situation this year, despite being in completely different worlds. Sansa has been around really powerful people and they all bat her off like she’s nothing. And all of the sudden, she turns around and uses their skills against them. It’s the same with the Hound. He’s bringing Arya up to be a great killer, and all of a sudden, she has the power to be that.”
On meeting Brienne: “There’s actually a direction in the script in between their interaction about how they named their swords and learning how to fight. It says: “Arya smiles. She likes this weirdo. Brienne smiles. She likes this weirdo.” I remember reading it and thinking, “That is it. It’s perfect.” It’s the most happy Arya has been in forever. She realizes you can be female and fight, and be strong and be a leader. It gives her a whole new inspiration…and then it all turns sour.”
On what Brienne could have done to gain Arya’s trust: “Not mention Jaime Lannister. In Brienne’s defense, she didn’t say anything wrong. It’s that thing where the audience knows so much more than the characters do, but mentioning Jaime Lannister is when it takes a spin on its head. Brienne was telling the truth but Arya’s guard goes straight back up and her hand is back on her sword. It’s a shame because I think they could have been great together.”
On Arya’s mindset as she sets sail for Braavos: “It’s a really twisted a version of growing up and leaving home – which Arya is, but she’s only 12. She looks back at her past home and a little part of her is wondering, “Should I stay?” And she turns and looks at the front of the ship, and her decision is made… She’s ready to forget her old life, somewhere where’s she’s not known, without anyone to remind her of what she’s come from and what’s she’s lost. She’s ready to start again.